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An Analysis of Public Health Theory Underpinning Breastfeeding What is Public Health - Essay Example

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The focus of this paper is to provide an analysis of public health theory underpinning the practice of breastfeeding. Public health refers to the creation of preventive measures and programs through organized, inter-agency and reform efforts that address the physical, mental and environmental health…
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An Analysis of Public Health Theory Underpinning Breastfeeding What is Public Health
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Download file to see previous pages The idea behind health promotion is to empower and enable people to take action and control of their health and life decisions. A good health promotion program is one that focuses on making individuals capable of taking action and acting as a group gain control over the components of health and positive change within their community.
Health promotion consists of a variety of strategies, some of which were set forth in the Ottawa Charter (1986), including building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing personal skills and the recognition of health services.
Thus health promotion must have means of tackling health challenges that are not inside of the immediate control of individuals. They must consider those that derive from social and political conditions as well. Health promotion action focuses on confronting these challenges through advocacy for health. Health personnel as well as other professional and social groups have a responsibility to mediate between the various interests that the different groups in society may bring to the table.
The challenge remains in the UK for policy-makers, healthcare professionals and managers to develop and deliver effective breastfeeding promotion programs that also address the socio-economic bias in the initiation of breastfeeding. Health promotion and disease prevention strategies include a broad collection of functions and expertise such as the assessment and monitoring of at-risk communities and groups to identify health problems and priorities, working with government and community leaders to establish public policies designed to solve known widespread health problems, and assuring that all populations have access to effective and affordable health care. The...
The model suggests that “whether or not people change their behavior will be influenced by an evaluation of its feasibility and its benefits weighed against its costs”. Individuals own views come into play regarding the likelihood of contracting an illness or injury themselves, perceived the severity of this illness or injury, and the effectiveness of the action being taken and whether it will keep the illness or injury from occurring. As stated previously, public health cannot be forced upon a group or an individual, or suggested or promoted. The individual must make the decision on his or her own to take action.
According the model, if a behavior change is going to take place, individuals must first have an incentive to change. Given the suggestions and research on the health benefits of breastfeeding, it is being made evident to new mothers that breastfeeding would provide the most health benefits to baby. The incentive should come from the want to provide those benefits for a healthier child. The individual must also feel threatened by their current behavior and feel that changing this behavior would be beneficial and have few adverse effects. The incidents of childhood illnesses that are declined by the initiation of breastfeeding as well as the economic benefits for the families of breastfed babies provides a sound foundation for an individual to choose to breastfeed. The illness spoke of range in severity. It is normal for new mother to feel threatened by the idea of their babies being diagnosed. This threat itself is in promotion of breastfeeding. Finally, the individual must feel competent in carrying out the changes made. If society were to become more accepting and supportive of breastfeeding mothers, more individuals would be likely to reach this stage and choose breastfeeding as the feeding method of choice for their babies.
Social, Economic, and Political Influence on Health
A major focus of public health theory is the influence that these issues have on the social, economic, and political aspects of society. Breastfeeding is a good example because it can manipulate all of these things. Since breastfeeding has proved to be connected to fewer childhood illnesses, it creates reduced health care costs and less employee absenteeism for mothers of young children. A lower occurrence of sickness in breastfed infants allows the parents to give more attention to other family matters and cuts down on the loss of household income. It is also evident that the amount of money that families spend in the care, particularly the feeding, of non-breastfed infants is much greater than for those that are breastfed. It has been estimated that approximately $855 per year is spent in the purchasing of infant formula for the first year of life for the average family. An approximate saving of more than $400 per child for food purchases can be expected during the first year for breastfed children. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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